Cailin O’Brien-Feeney PHOTO PROVIDED/OPRD
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has hired Cailin O’Brien-Feeney as its first head of the Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation. The Office is a new unit inside the agency, created by legislation signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in 2017.
The Office’s purpose is to elevate outdoor recreation in every corner of the state. By collaborating across boundaries with local, state and federal agencies, plus nonprofits and recreation-dependent businesses, the Office will develop and promote policies, legislation and management practices that improve access, encourage public participation and protect natural resources.
O’Brien-Feeney holds an environmental studies undergraduate degree from Lewis and Clark College in Portland and an environmental science graduate degree from the University of Idaho. He’s worked in the recreation field for 15 years, including stints with the US Forest Service and as a river guide in Idaho, and has been the state and local policy manager for the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) since 2015.
The OIA is a national trade group, and during his leadership, O’Brien-Feeney worked with governors, legislators and agencies across the country to improve access to outdoor recreation opportunities, encouraged strategies that increase economic benefits, and promoted establishment of Offices of Outdoor Recreation in other states.
He will start work in Oregon in late June.
”We’re happy Cailin agreed to come back to Oregon and work with the team focusing on improving outdoor recreation here,” said Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director Lisa Sumption. ”There’s a strong community in place that will benefit from his policy leadership as we work to make the benefits of outdoor recreation available to every Oregonian.”
The 2017 Oregon legislation creating the Office inside OPRD, House Bill 3350, sprang from the Outdoor Recreation Initiative convened by Travel Oregon, and was supported by a coalition of nonprofits and businesses like the Mazamas, American Whitewater, and REI, among others.